Well, losing 1/3 of the games to me anyway.
Two days on the mountain, one night in a tent, a steady rhythm of riddles, several sordid games of Rummy 500, catcalling gophers, a kind young Tajik guide, some rain, and cold cold river water up in Tajikistan’s Rasht Valley.
We probably didn’t really need a guide as it turned out to only be an hour or two’s hike up into the valley, but he was a sweet young man with provocative fire-starting skills and a “solid kettle.”
Before we went aimlessly hiking up the valley we were warned repeatedly not to touch the innocuous-looking plant with pretty yellow flowers because it will make you itch. But it’s everywhere. And I managed to get it on my hand, which now looks like Tyler Durden poured lye on it to bring me one step closer to god.
Clare somehow managed to get it on her forehead. I think she may have been grazing (Lord knows I was). Possibly because she didn’t like my meal of chunky spaghetti sauce and rice (we were forced to improvise that night in the tent due to rain).
Yesterday we came back down the hill, waking up this morning once again in Mirzashoh’s cozy hideaway, on the anniversary of my being birthed. I can’t think of a better way to begin this year.
Except maybe with a back massage and breakfast in bed from a squad of muscular but tender chimpanzees.
(Also see Sleeping Under Skins in the Rasht Valley.)